Progress Made on Wanapum Dam

It's been almost a week since workers at the Wanapum Dam made a startling discovery.

A 65 foot crack along one of the spillways underwater, about 2 inches deep.

Visitors are making trips just to see their favorite spots along the Columbia River in this area, which right now are barren and dry.

"I heard about it on the news that they were going to lower the water," said Josh Amans, "But you don't expect this, you don't expect it to look like this."

Even locals are surprised by the sight.

"I thought there was a drought going on," said Johnny Valdez, "It was super dry, I've never seen it like this before, I'm almost 40 years old, I've never seen it like this before."

The Grant County Utility District has gone to work since the crack was discovered, dropping the reservoir about 25 feet.

Alleviating the pressure helped stabilize the spillways and allowed the crack to close by nearly an inch as of this morning.

However, the drop in water level can be seen all along the riverside.

People living in the area will have to get used to the sight for some time, crews will need to keep water levels this low in order to begin their assessment of the crack.

"Now we're moving into the next phase, which is to investigate it further, identify a cause, and begin looking into some of those short term and long term potential fixes," said Grant PUD representative Thomas Stredwick.

Some people hope those fixes come sooner than later.

"Boating's a big part of our summer life, and if it's like this, it doesn't look like we're going to be boating this year," said Amans.

The utility district says the crack poses no immediate threat to people living downstream, and it will continue to provide electricity to people in the area.

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